Project Designer ID: Brands, T-shirts, & the Communication of Identity
Casa La Doniccé | University of Southern California | Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
This research was conducted with generous funding from the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication and Jouralism
Project Designer ID examines how brand image and consumer identity influence one another when mediated by designer T-shirts. Specifically, it asks how changes in perceived status are likely to take place for both brands and consumers when individuals of different apparent social status are seen wearing designer T-shirts by brands from different market segments. The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods in order to provide a most complete analysis of these phenomena.
Study 1 involved 31 in-depth interviews with fashion industry professionals ranging from independent designers to business administrators to moguls of the trade. This research was used to establish a cultural framework for the current T-shirt market and gain insights about the value of the T-shirt as a high-stakes market commodity from an organizational perspective. It was also used to make informed decisions about the procedural methods carried out in the study that followed.
Study 2 (N = 1237) consisted of one pilot study (n0 = 370) and two online experiments (n1 = 495), (n2 = 372) divided into a total of 26 cells of (41≤ n ≤ 53), which examined consumer perceptions of status using designer brand T-shirts and consumer identity as the independent variables.
The combined results of these studies were assessed through the use of analytical synthesis in order to make highly informed generalizations about organizational and consumer behavior as both a theoretical and practical examination of popular culture and the consumer market at large.
Real market implications for this research and its findings were determined, and recommendations are provided for organization stakeholders, particularly marketers, aiming to maximize either profits or brand equity or for those seeking to optimize the balance between the two.
Dissertation | White Paper | One Sheets | Book | Documentary | T-Shirts
This written manuscript and presentation outlines the research, theories and findings of Project Designer ID with high level analysis.
This document summarizes the work and findings in short format.
These briefs detail key sections of the work and provide simplified marketing reports derived from the research and analyses.
The book gives an overview of the study alongside a broad cultural analysis for popular consumption.
The film offers a rich media format for the presentation of the project and its supplemental research findings for general audiences.
Documentary Coming Soon...
The Designer ID T-shirts feature the Cubism artwork developed for the project.